Provisions ext

I’m not at all sure what the name Provisions & Buzz Co. means. I mean, I get the Provisions part in that it refers to food and drink. I’m not sure about the Buzz.

It might have something to do with bees. There are little icons that look like bees next to some menu items to indicate a house specialty. Or is it meant to be the kind of buzz that refers to people talking about something, i.e. “There’s a lot of buzz about that new restaurant.” Or it is also a reference to food and drink but in this case just the drink, as in “That Old Fashioned gave me a nice buzz.”

I’m going to go with the bee theory, though I don’t know why. It doesn’t seem to fit into any kind of theme presented in the menu. But then, neither does anything else. There’s a quesadilla here, a pork shank there, and a couple of Asian style items in between. (The menu is under the direction of chef Josh Spisak.)

But all that said, I must hasten to add that Provisions & Buzz Co. is a better restaurant than any of those that preceded it in this troubled location. Most recently it was Jack’s Steakhouse, but it has also been a place called Baldwin Steakhouse and a perfectly awful restaurant with a perfectly awful name called Fresh Mouth. I’d actually managed to sweep that one from my memory. I’m pretty sure it was something before that, too. During a meal at one of those iterations I witnessed what I’m almost certain was a drug deal “going down,” as they say, between a man and the bartender. And I wasn’t surprised. (The man walked into the restaurant, nodded to the bartender, the two of them went to the men’s room together and emerged 15 second later, so I assume it wasn’t for illicit sex.)

But Provisions & Buzz.

TR Fire burger

It’s a little zenlike to consider, but the second location of TR Fire Grill & Lounge is also its only location.

As you may recall, the TR in the name stands for Tony Roma, the Orlando based Romacorp’s ribbery. The Fire Grill & Lounge was a new brand that opened in a former Tony Roma’s restaurant in late 2013. I was less than whelmed.

That prototype was shuttered in early September and, a few weeks later, a new TR Fire Grill & Lounge opened in Winter Park. The company characterized it as a relocation. Whatever. It appears that the operators have learned from some of the missteps that prevented the original from finding its footing. This is a better restaurant than the one it left behind.

A great restaurant? One that will win awards for its cuisine? No, probably not. But it has perfectly acceptable food that is served in a trendily gritty atmosphere that is conducive to informal gatherings.

Boathouse Lobster Roll

I finally had a chance to try out the food recently at the Boathouse, the first major Disney Springs restaurant that opened in April. What took me so long? Well, I wasn’t looking forward to shelling out 21 bucks for fish tacos or 29 clams for for a lobster roll. Even a “classic burger” demands $18. So when I was invited to attend a wine luncheon hosted by Breakthru Beverage Group, I said yes.

And I was most anxious to try that Lobster Roll. A lobroll, of course, is a sandwich, a fairly simple one at that, with a lobster salad — steamed lobster meat chopped and tossed with mayonnaise and celery — on a toasted and buttered bun, most usually a mere hot dog bun but sometimes even just a piece of toasted white bread.

The kitchen, perhaps as a means of justifying the just-under-30-dollars price tag, turned the lobster roll here into an over-produced concoction that had to be eaten with knife and fork. The salad, which featured big, meaty chunks of deliciously sweet lobster, sat atop a mini loaf of a buttered roll. There was a slit in the top of the roll, but there was no way to elegantly cram the salad into it, and even if one could, decorum would prevent one from picking it up to shove into one’s mouth. Good lobster salad? Yes. Delicious buttered, toasted roll? You bet. Good lobster roll? No. And the fries that were served with it were just a tad too greasy.

Divas Brisket

So maybe you're over the whole hearts, flowers, and fatty chocolate foolishness. Maybe your current idea of romance is a bit less predictable, something juicy, primal, perhaps thickly sliced, cloaked in a sheen of perfectly caramelized glaze: brisket, the-ever elusive, nearly unknowable cut of beef that, not unlike a romance, demands patience and perseverance.

The brisket’s scarlet beauty seems to promise the most tender of relationships with a slow hand and some culinary wiles. Seduce her with a warm, saucy bath, both during and after cooking time, and then she's all yours (after 15 minutes of beauty rest, of course).


Weekend events kick off Friday evening with Central Florida Regional Hospital’s seventh annual Iron Heart Cook-off at 6:30 at the Westin Lake Mary-Orlando North, 2974 International Parkway, Lake Mary.

No, Iron Heart isn’t like an iron lung. And don’t worry, the contestants won’t be cooking hearts, at least I don’t think so. But they will be actual doctors, including Dr. William David, Dr. Manjunath Harlapur, Dr. Brad Litke and Dr. Lawrence Vallario. They will be competing Iron Chef style with secret ingredients to prepare a heart-healthy entree. I don’t know about you, but when I want good eating, I always turn to the nearest physician. Fox 35 anchor Bob Frier is the emcee.

Saturday it’s the 2016 Orlando Chili Cook-off, which is appropriate because Saturday is predicted to be chilly.

And with the temperatures cooler, a bowl of chili sounds great. Chefs from around the country whose friends have told them “Hey, you make a really great bowl of chili, I’ll bet you could win a contest; would you pass me another beer?” will meet at Festival Park, which most of the time is a vacant lot at 2911 E. Robinson St. in Orlando.

There will also be live musical entertainment, a kids zone and the World Chili Eating Challenge, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t mean “I’ll bet you can’t eat this.” Organizers expect to dole out over 100,000 samples to the estimated 20,000 attendees. Here’s a link to the official website, and if you can find the time that the event starts, you’re a better person than I am.

Also, don’t forget that flog favorite Bevfly is having a a Pre-Valentine’s Day Pairing Party Saturday. I really like this idea. From 2 to 4 p.m. (thanks for providing that information, guys) you can sip Champagne, Port and other selections and nibble on oysters, charcuterie and chocolate

It’s just $25 per person, but you’ll need to make a reservation because they don’t want the crowds to be so overwhelming that they can’t talk to everyone. I like that they’re doing this the weekend before Valentine’s Day — it’s perfect for someone who wants to a Valentine out to dinner and order a bottle of wine with more authority.

Bevfly is at 5425 International Drive, Orlando. It is open daily. For reservations at the February 6 event, or just to chat about wine, call 407-826-1542.